I think when people think about yoga, they think of hippies and herbs and incense. And in a sense that’s true. A lot of yogis put a lot of stock in herbs as natural remedies for pretty much everything and there is a lot on incense burned in most studios. But I don’t think we’re the hippies that everyone thinks of. I think most of the younger hippies are what I like to call nouveau hippies, less bra burning while marching in protest and more tree hugging while blogging from the comfort of our three year old constantly crashing dell laptop super cool macbooks.
The point is that I think people have definite ideas of what yoga is and what kind of people practice yoga. And I don’t think that those ideas are correct for modern day yoga and yogis. Yoga is more mainstream now and less counter-culture-ey and so are the people who practice it. In one sense, I think that’s a good thing. It’s reaching more people, which means more people are more zen-ey. But I think that the popularity of yoga is also changing it. There are so many yoga studios, yoga props, and yoga mats that people are forgetting that yoga can be a way to commune with nature.
I’ve been practicing yoga less than consistently for almost 10 years. In that time, I have practiced outside exactly three times. Once a few months ago at my mother-in-law’s house. Once about a month ago in woodland park. And yesterday morning.
The studio where I take classes was hosting a yoga nidra (I have no idea what that is, by the way) workshop yesterday and today. So all the weekend classes were moved to the lawn outside! Nice surprise and a nice practice. Practicing yoga outside is a completely different experience than practicing inside. Outside there are more distractions, the ground is bumpy, the wind is blowing, and ants wander across your mat. But all of these factors meld together to make it more difficult and more awesome. Except the ants. Ants creep me out more than any other bug; in a very un-zenlike manner yesterday, I killed about 7 that decided to wander on to my mat. But in between killing ants and bruising my feet on a small rock while doing standing balance postures, I had a great practice.
And that practice made my entire day great… hopefully it will keep me feeling great on this very very soggy Sunday morning.